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The average American’s financial reality is a life of living paycheck to paycheck. Approximately 59% of Americans said they would be unable to cover a $1,000 emergency. This is startling for the richest country in the world, and yet there’s nothing indicating an improvement in the near future.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have an emergency fund, here are a number of small ways to save money you can begin implementing now.
Save the Change Every Time You Break a Bill
Building an emergency fund is about building good financial habits. There are no silver bullets. You need to alter your behavior.
An easy way to manage this is by saving the change every time you break a bill. For example, if you pay for something that costs $12 with a $20 bill, put the $8 change in your emergency fund.
When your jar is full, just take it to the bank and add it to your emergency fund bank account.
Start a Bank Account That Does it Automatically For You
Many banks will allow you to automatically add change to your savings account every time you pay with your card. A perfect example of this is the Way 2 Save Account from Wells Fargo.
There are also apps you can take advantage of that will do this exact same thing. The Mint financial app is just one of the hundreds of apps that will take the change and save it for you.
Use Rebate Sites When Shopping and Direct Your Savings to Your Emergency Fund
Around 80% of shoppers would be more likely to buy from a brand for the first time if they get a discount or offer of some kind. Retailers have reacted to this and now there’s little reason to pay full price again.
Rebate sites offer an easy way to save when you shop. Direct any savings you make from rebate sites to your emergency fund.
If you’re looking for a great rebate site, check out Rakuten and start making some easy savings next time you shop.
Create a Bad Habits Jar and Fund it With $1 Every Time You Mess Up
Remember what we discussed about creating positive financial habits? Combine this with tackling some of your bad habits as well.
For example, you could create a swear jar, and every time you swear you have to throw a dollar bill into it.
You can combine this with anything you want to quit or cut back on. Many smokers find that a smoking jar can act as an excellent motivator when they’re trying to quit.
Have 1-2 Months Per Year Where You Don’t Spend Outside of Essentials
Give yourself a savings boost every year by having one or two months of the year where you purchase only the essentials. Skip any impulse buys and shopping trips. Avoid eating out. Just buy what you actually need. You’ll be amazed at how much you can add to your savings fund in such a short amount of time.
The best time to do this is a quieter part of the year. Many people utilizing this strategy choose the months just after Christmas for this. Nothing’s going on and it allows you to claim back some of those big-spending sprees you embarked on during the holiday season.
Join a Savings Challenge
The fact is Americans struggle to rein in their spending habits. The average American now spends $18,000 on non-essentials every single year.
If you’re someone who’s historically found it tough to cut spending and increase saving, get the support of others. Savings challenges allow you to celebrate your achievements and track your progress alongside likeminded people.
Savings challenges are everywhere. You can find them on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. There are also savings challenges on popular Internet forums, like Reddit.
You’ll find different types of savings challenges. Some of the challenges are stricter than others, with certain groups opting for ambitious savings targets.
The point is you’re bound to find your crowd, and you just might make a few friends in the process too.
Anyone who needs a little extra motivation should consider joining one of these challenges.
Pick Up a Side Hustle
Did you know that 49% of people under 35 have a side hustle? Side hustles are not just a product of the overly ambitious any longer. They’re necessary for millions of Americans to pay the bills every month.
Side hustles are simply part-time jobs. They can take place online or offline. Whether it’s babysitting the neighbor’s kids or starting a freelance business online, anything can be your side hustle.
Think about what you’re good at and what your target market demands. Can you fulfill their expectations?
It may take a few tries to find a side hustle that works for you, but it’ll be worth it. Many side hustles can be managed with just a couple of hours per day from your smartphone.
Take dropshipping as an example. You never handle the products you’re selling. All you have to do is make yourself available online, which can be done from anywhere.
Like any business, it takes time to build up a base of clients and it’ll take time to make a regular income. Side hustles should be treated with the same seriousness as any job. And, you never know, your side hustle may become so successful that it becomes your main hustle later down the line.
Conclusion: You Can Quickly Build an Emergency Fund With These Ideas
These ideas can help you to quickly build up your emergency fund. The experts claim that you should have at least six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund as a minimum. However, it’s better to build up to a year and to keep building beyond that.
Your emergency fund can never be too big. Once it’s large enough, you can start to use portions of your savings to take that dream vacation or to put down a deposit on that house you’ve always wanted.
What are you doing to build up your emergency fund?